With over 2 billion users across the likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest, engaging with customers on social media requires a good strategy and more than a little personality. Sharing news about events or products is important, but making sure people want to see the message is crucial.
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However, it’s easy to misstep and drive away customers. Flooding users with messages, regularly begging for shares and likes, or simply going too far off brand can all damage your audience’s interest, possibly permanently.
So what should you do? And, more importantly, what should you avoid doing? Below, 15 members from YEC talk about the common social media mistakes they see companies making, as well as why they matter.
1. Sending Out Too Much Content
Social media users don’t mind hearing from brands they follow. But many brands push followers’ patience too far by bombarding social media streams with way too many posts each day. Attention is valuable, and you shouldn’t waste it. Share a small number of posts every day, and focus your efforts on ensuring that each post is high-value, sharable and unlikely to be considered spammy.
2. Not Addressing Complaints
Consumers turn to social media when they have a problem, and it’s a bad look to avoid complaints that come in via this channel. When you address an issue right away, it can turn a previously upset customer into a raving fan of your brand. Also, it shows other prospective customers that you truly care and will be there in the event that they have a question or issue. It builds customer confidence.
3. Trying to Grow Too Many Social Media Platforms at Once
It takes considerable knowledge and consistency to grow a rabid, profitable audience with social media. Too often, companies decide that they want to dominate multiple platforms at once. This is overload, and it’s highly unlikely — unless your company is experienced and resource-laden — that you’ll do well on any of them. Pick one, hit it hard for a year and then reassess others.
– Alex Miller, Upgraded Points
4. Jumping Into the Political Arena
Brands have tried to appeal to online activists and jump on trends by becoming more engaged politically. Why a brand would want to potentially alienate 50% of their customers with a political opinion is mind-blowingly shortsighted. If you are selling a quality product or service, it should be able to sell just fine on its own — keep your political opinions to yourself.
5. Not Reviewing Automated Status Updates Before Posting
It’s tempting for brands without the internal resources to turn to automation to help manage their social media presence. Unfortunately, automating status updates sometimes results in a presence that looks and feels automated. Followers can sniff out an automated account fairly well, and when they do, they tune out. As a general rule, review all status updates before sharing on a social channel.
6. Repeating Content, Word for Word, Across All Channels
Consistency is important, but it does help to make small changes to the content or repurpose it in a way that makes it fresh for every channel. Otherwise your audience will just think you are lazy and have nothing different to offer.
7. Being Overly Promotional
Naturally, you want to use social media for branding and promotion. But if all or most of your posts are simply ads or links to product pages, people will tire of this quickly. Remember that people go on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social sites to socialize and be entertained, or maybe to learn something new. So provide value as well as promoting your business!
8. Begging for Likes and Shares
Begging for likes and shares is something most teenagers have learned not to do, so it’s always a little awkward when a company is doing it with content that hasn’t found a voice yet. Don’t ask for engagement. Earn it by producing good content and interacting with the people who are willing to engage.
9. Getting Stuck in a Long Back-and-Forth
When there’s a lot of back-and-forth or detailed information that needs to be shared to resolve an issue, take it to email to keep it from cluttering up your pages and to help the customer more effectively. Some issues just aren’t handled well in a long thread of 140-character messages. This will also help you avoid futile comment wars and decrease the risk of third-party topic derailing.
10. Ignoring the Public Relations Options
Social media is a great tool for brands to communicate concise messages and interact with customers, but the opportunity of utilizing PR is often ignored. If you ever have a PR issue, social media is very effective for managing the situation, taking responsibility, reacting immediately and responding to feedback.
11. Lacking Community Management
A high engagement rate is every brand’s goal. You can have amazing content, but if you don’t manage your online community by responding to comments, answering inquiries and facilitating conversation, then your engagement will fall flat. Have a community manager who will be the voice of your brand and create an inviting and welcoming online environment for your online community.
12. Posting Meaningless Content
As tempting as it is to fill your timeline, stop posting meaningless content. All of your posts need to be focused on your core message or in response to a customer’s problem. Anything else is pointless.
13. Being Boring
What interests brands — particularly executives — is rarely what interests customers. The best social media pros think about who customers are and what they’re interested in. It can be hard for entrepreneurs to step back and realize that their obsessions aren’t likely to produce a compelling social media presence for the average consumer, which is why social media professionals are in great demand.
14. Not Having a Schedule
Your audience should know when to expect new content from you, and having a schedule helps you remain focused. A brand with a social media presence that only posts intermittently can confuse current customers and it’ll be tough to build trust with new ones. – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
15. Straying Too far Off Brand
In the pursuit of likes, comments and views, some brands create social media content that strays too far off brand, making it difficult for consumers to associate their business with the right ideas and themes. Companies should instead craft posts and stories that demonstrate their interests, values and mission to ensure their social media strategy is coherent and effective.
Social Media is Your Gateway to the World
If you aren’t currently using social media to its full potential, you are likely missing out big time. While most brands and bloggers have a preferred platform for growing their following and sharing content, if you are using each of them separately, you are going to be missing out on a big chunk of traffic. Be sure to implement each of the social media tips above to get the most out of your online marketing and branding efforts.
We hope you enjoyed this latest expert round-up full of actionable tips and advice from industry experts around the world. Be sure to read through our how to start a blog article, with advice and tips from over 82 different experts who have already found success in the world of blogging.
#1 YouTube Banner Template: How to Create a Custom Banner for Free
The world’s population watches almost 5 billion YouTube videos every single day. That means YouTube is a massive market that you’re most likely not utilizing.
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But don’t worry, it doesn’t take much to get a professional footprint on YouTube. When you’re getting started, one of the most important features to focus on is your YouTube banner.
We’ll go into everything you need to know about creating a YouTube banner. Towards the end, we’ll recommend a few YouTube banner templates to get you started.
What is a YouTube Banner?
When you click on any given YouTube user’s name, YouTube brings you to that user’s channel. Here you can see all their videos and playlists. At the top of the screen is a banner with the YouTuber’s brand. This is a YouTube banner.
Click around on a few different users you follow to get a good idea about the different banners on the market. See what draws your eye and what you do and do not like.
If you’d like to find more tips on how to effectively create and use your YouTube profile page and videos for branding, be sure to check out these quick tips.
What are the Banner Specifications?
When you’re designing your banner, it’s important you follow the right specifications. People are watching YouTube on their phones, tablets, laptops, and even their TV’s. You need to make sure your banner renders properly on all these different screen sizes. You can make sure you get it right by following the specifications.
According to Google, your banner should meet the following specifications:
- Recommended: 2560 x 1440 px
- Minimum for upload: 2048 x 1152 px
- Minimum “safe area” where text and logos are ensured not to be cut off: 1546 x 423 px
- Maximum width: 2560 x 423 px
- File size: 4MB or smaller
What Should I Include in My Banner?
Your banner is a representation of your brand. It should intrigue viewers, and give them a snapshot of what to expect from your channel. Make sure to include your brand name.
Here are the Best YouTube Banner Templates
There are several places you can get a high-quality YouTube banner template for free. Here are a few of our favorites.
Google has its own template designs for YouTube. Makes sense, after all, they do own YouTube.
Adobe is perhaps the best YouTube banner maker app available on the market. They let you create a design for free in minutes with no previous experience.
Canva offers several different template designs. They have available stock photography you can use, or you can use your own images.
It’s Easy and Vital To Get A Quality YouTube Banner
We’ve covered all the basics you need to know to get a quality YouTube banner. We’ve also listed some of the best places to get a YouTube banner template.
Getting a YouTube banner is an important start in a quality YouTube channel, but it’s only the start. Now you have a professional YouTube appearance!
The banner is vital for a professional appearance. But that alone isn’t enough. Regularly post quality videos to build traction for your YouTube presence.
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Instagram Checkout and the Move Toward Frictionless eCommerce
The number of hurdles standing between online shoppers and completing transactions is dwindling. The path to purchase is getting smoother as retailers move toward frictionless ecommerce. Gone are the days where shoppers must visit an ecommerce website to buy a product, especially if they originally spot the product on a social media platform.
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Nowadays, social shopping is capable of enabling people to reduce the number of steps to checkout by allowing them to buy without exiting social media. Instagram Checkout is the latest feature geared toward making it easier to complete deals. Here’s more on this announcement and its potential impact on the ecommerce industry as a whole.
First, What Is Frictionless Ecommerce?
When you hear the word friction, you probably think of resistance. This force can be useful, like using sandpaper to smooth down rough wood. Or this force can be a hindrance, like trying to slide a piece of heavy furniture across the floor. In ecommerce, friction is undesirable because it means shoppers are meeting resistance when they try to proceed through the sales funnel.
Frictionless ecommerce is something sellers are seeking out because it allows them to “integrate buying opportunities as simply and seamlessly as possible into consumers’ everyday activities and natural environments,” according to BLM Technologies.
One of these natural environments is social media, an activity in which many users are spending a larger chunk of each day. It only makes sense to try to sell to people there, rather than requiring them to visit a separate website each time they want to browse or buy.
The ethos behind frictionless ecommerce tells us reducing the number of steps it takes to buy products online will motivate more people to stick around for as long as it takes to convert. Less hassle translates into more sales and a better customer experience.
Of course, it’s still vitally important to set up a responsive, fully featured online store complete with secure checkout. After all, some people won’t use social shopping. Today, leading platforms like Shopify offer free ecommerce website builders to help retailers run their stores. Branching out into frictionless ecommerce in the form of social shopping will help merchants capture even more sales by offering shoppers flexible options.
Building a Trusted Brand and Following Will Still Apply
As you can imagine, with more than a billion active users on the Instagram platform, it’s going to get quite competitive when it comes to ecommerce advertising. With that being said, this is where traditional authentic and organic followers and engagement will come into play.
We recently talked about the power and effectiveness of using a tool like Kicksta to automate the audience targeting and engagement process. For ecommerce and online stores, this is one of the best ways to put your Instagram marketing efforts on auto-pilot, which also reaching new audiences daily.
This also leads to better paid advertising and remarketing options as well. Once a user starts following your account, you have a clear indication that they are interested in what you have to offer.
Set up a new Instagram ad campaign that targets your existing followers, then compare the results with your outside targeting and default ad campaigns. We are sure the existing follower audience set will perform much better. You can visit their website here and watch the short video on their homepage to see how the process works.
The Rise of Instagram Checkout in Ecommerce
Instagram is a highly visual platform, allowing brands to connect with users through engaging images, videos and captions. If you’re an Instagram user, chances are you know the feeling of seeing something you like and wanting to know more about it — or perhaps even conducting an impulse purchase it on the spot.
Instagram Checkout aims to tap into the marketing prowess of this app by “allowing users to complete product purchases without having to leave the app.” It’s all of the convenience of online window shopping without even having to go into the store, except people can still get their hands on the product. Plus, after Instagram users enter their payment data once, the app saves it for future purchases. Thus, the purchasing journey remains inside a single app — making it more convenient and tempting for mobile shoppers who follow their favorite brands online.
At the moment, Instagram Checkout is a feature in beta testing available to about 20 top brands. An advanced version will be available to more merchants down the line, which means we all need to prepare for the wider acceptance of social shopping. Once this becomes the standard, online users will crave ultra-convenient experiences.
Instagram Checkout is an exciting new development on the horizon for ecommerce brands, and stores must embrace the move toward frictionless ecommerce to stay competitive.
7 Instagram Features Every Business Needs to Use for Marketing
Instagram is a fun platform for sharing pictures and video. However, as far as it pertains to businesses, it’s a lot more than that. For businesses, Instagram is a marketing device and quite an effective one at that.
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Are you interested in using Instagram to market your business? Then read on. We’re going to teach you about 7 Instagram features which will enhance your business marketing campaigns.
Taking Advantage of Instagram Features When Marketing
A great many of Instagram’s features lend themselves to marketing. The best of these features include the following.
Instagram Stories work in the same way as Snapchat Stories, allowing you to post photos and videos for 24 hours before they disappear. Popular among all types of Instagrammers, they are frequently viewed and are great for attracting new followers.
Businesses have two options when it comes to using Instagram Story video: 1. They can post stories on their own Instagram pages, or 2. They can use Instagram Stories Ads. While the first option will provide some exposure for your business, the second option will provide more.
Why? Because it involves placing ads for your business in between the stories of Instagrammers that you don’t even know. As a result, you’ll be reaching customers who are entirely unfamiliar with your brand.
While Stories Ads cost money to post, they often end up bringing in more money than they cost. In other words, they’re usually worth a try.
2. Push Notifications
Another terrific feature for marketing on Instagram is the push notification. These are notifications which automatically send to specific followers upon the publishing of new posts. They work to keep top followers invested in your page.
Note, however, that getting followers to accept push notifications can be challenging. Unless your content is undeniably great, you’re going to have to be a little aggressive in getting followers to accept push notifications for your page.
One of the keys to doing this is to utilize calls to action. Simply telling visitors to enable push notifications for your page can be quite effective.
The other key is to post great content on a consistent basis while keeping non-value content to a minimum. The more valuable the content you post, the more valuable your page becomes, and the more your followers will want to frequent it. This leads to the enabling of push notifications which, in turn, leads to the conversion of more sales.
If you run a brick-and-mortar business, geotagging is a hugely valuable Instagram feature to utilize. By geotagging the photos you post, you make your business more visible on geographical searches. This is a great way to attract Instagram users who live in the geographical proximity of your business.
Note, however, that you must always be cognizant of whether you have geotagging turned on. If you’re not careful, you could accidentally geotag a photo or video that you wished to leave geographically anonymous.
4. Live Video
One of the best ways to build credibility and authenticity with your Instagram followers is by utilizing live video. Live video occurs in real-time, allowing you to communicate directly with your followers through page comments and voice.
Afraid that you might say something embarrassing? It won’t last for long. Instagram live videos disappear as soon as they’re done being broadcasted, ensuring that your faux pas isn’t picked apart by the masses.
You can use Live Video to discuss project updates, to show off new products, to showcase charitable efforts, and more. It’s all about making yourself and your business more familiar to your followers.
5. Photo Filters
A big part of marketing is building a brand. The goal is to evoke a feeling which is representative of your business. In evoking this feeling, you make your business instantly identifiable among the masses. Photo filters are also great for social profile branding. Take a look at these top brands that are doing social media profile branding correctly, then also consider how you can implement these same visuals into your own branding efforts.
There are a number of ways to do this on Instagram, but one of the most effective ways is through the use of photo filters. Using the same photo filters on all of your posts will provide your Instagram page with an overarching theme. This theme will become part of your brand and will help followers to identify your business.
Our advice is to experiment with different filters until you’ve found something you like. Then, once it’s established, you can hit your followers over the head with it.
When it comes to using Instagram for marketing purposes, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of hashtags. Hashtags are not only vital in building a brand, but in attracting non-followers as well.
Dropping trending hashtags into your posts is a great way to bring your Instagram page into the loop. Not only does it show that you’re part of the culture, but that your page might be worth visiting.
There are also many other famous hashtags too like;
In short, hashtags increase exposure for your business. The more exposure your business gets, the more sales it will convert.
7. Emoji Polls
One last Instagram feature you should consider using is Emoji Polls. These allow you to ask questions and receive direct feedback from your many followers, increasing familiarity among potential customers and allowing potential customers to feel as though their thoughts have an impact on the operation of your business.
One way to use Emoji Polls as a business is to ask followers how they feel about a specific product. However, you don’t need to strictly talk about your business. Inquiries about current events could get followers involved as well.
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Find More Marketing Tips
There is no shortage of Instagram features, each of which can help businesses to market their products, services, and brand. While the features reviewed above are the most effective for marketing purposes, they comprise only a handful of what you have available to you.
Looking for more marketing tips? Blogging Tips has you covered. We provide information on everything from content marketing to social media marketing and more.
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